Jo Van Fleet Bio

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Jo Van Fleet Bio

Post by Tracy » Mon Dec 26, 2011 1:22 pm

Jo Van Fleet Image Jo Van Fleet was born on December 30, 1914, in Oakland, California.

Jo attended The University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.

In 1946, Jo married William Bales - they had one son.

She established herself as a notable dramatic actress on Broadway, winning a Tony Award in 1954 for her skill playing an unsympathetic, even abusive character, in Horton Foote's The Trip to Bountiful.

Her first film role was playing the mother of James Dean's character in East of Eden (1955).


This debut performance earned Jo an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.


Her movie career continued, including performances in The King and Four Queens. At the time of the filming, Jo was 42-years-old and played a much older character, Ma McDade. The actress in red is Jean Willes - who played Jenny Jenkins in Bonanza's A Good Night's Rest, as well as several other appearances in Bonanza.


In 1958, she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for her performance in Look Homeward, Angel on Broadway.
Jo starred with Anthony Perkins in This Angry Age in 1958.


In 1960, Jo starred as Ella Garth in Wild River, once again, playing a much older character.



Jo appeared in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), and, as seen below, Cool Hand Luke (1967).


1970 brought Jo to Bonanza in The Trouble With Amy. Jo was 56 at the time of the filming.

Tracycap from The Trouble With Amy

In 1971, Jo took on the role of Mrs. Dobbs - teacher for the blind - in the moving Bonanza episode, The Stillness Within. At the age of 57, most fans did not realize that Mrs. Dobbs was the same actress as Amy Wilder, who appeared above.

The Stillness Within.jpg
The Stillness Within.jpg (16.43 KiB) Viewed 1334 times

Her many TV roles included appearances on Suspense, Kraft Theater, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, 77 Sunset Strip, Route 66, The Virginian, Mannix, Mod Squad, Medical Center, and Police Woman.
Jo Van Fleet died at the age of 81 on June 10, 1996, in Queens, New York.
Last edited by Tracy on Mon Nov 23, 2015 2:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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